THE full story of one of the first WWI tank commanders has been told for the first time in a new book published by the Tank Museum in Bovington.

'Tank Man' tells the early experiences of the tank in action through the letters and diaries of Cpt Bert Baker.

Bert won a Military Cross and bar for two actions that helped establish the tank as a game-changing weapon of war.

His grandson Jonathan Baker, who researched the story, said: "My grandfather had left a detailed record of his war in a notebook, into which he had transcribed extracts from a diary and from his letters home.

"I was able to trace all his movements over the whole four years of the war, and learn about the development of the tanks through the direct experience of one of the first men to fight in one.

"I decided to tell the two stories side by side, and give my grandfather's heroics the credit I felt they deserved.

"I got the clear impression my grandfather rather enjoyed a large part of his wartime service.

"As so many others, he liked being in the military and being given experiences and responsibilities far removed from his civilian life.

"He had no complaints about the discomfort and privations of military life and was lucky to emerge both physically and mentally unscathed.

"So many others were not so fortunate. He picked up the pieces of his life, returning to his old job and starting a family.

"I do not remember his wartime exploits ever being discussed at home, so I was amazed at what I later learned about them, and to find that we had a war hero in the family. I am thrilled to have been able to bring his story into the light."

David Willey, curator of the Tank Museum, said: "Bert was one of the characters we focused on in our exhibition to mark the 100th anniversary of the first tanks.

"Jonathan has done some amazing research and a remarkable job to put Bert's war into the wider context of the development of the tank in the First World War."

The book can be bought on the Tank Museum's website.